Effect of glargine insulin delivery method (pen device versus vial/syringe) on glycemic control and patient preferences in patients with type 1 and type 2 diabetes

Endocr Pract. 2014 Jun;20(6):536-9. doi: 10.4158/EP13404.OR.


Objective: To evaluate the effects of two different glargine insulin delivery methods (pen device vs. vial/syringe) on glycemic control and patient preferences in a randomized, open-label, crossover, comparative effectiveness study.

Methods: Thirty-one patients discharged from the hospital were recruited for this study. In the hospital, all patients were treated with a basal-bolus insulin regimen. Upon discharge, 21 patients received glargine by pen device for 3 months and were then switched to vial/syringe for the next 3 months (group 1). Group 2 consisted of 10 patients discharged on vial/syringe and converted to pen device after 3 months. Hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) was measured at enrollment and at 3 and 6 months. A questionnaire assessing patient preference was administered at 3 and 6 months.

Results: Groups 1 and 2 had similar baseline HbA1c (10.7 ± 2.2% and 11.2 ± 2.5%, respectively) and similar reduction in HbA1c at 3 months (7.8 ± 1.7% and 7.3 ± 1.4%, respectively; P<.001 vs. baseline). However, after crossover, the changes in HbA1c from 3 to 6 months were significantly different between groups. HbA1c increased to 8.5 ± 2.0% at 6 months in group 1 after switching to the vial/syringe but remained unchanged (7.1 ± 1.6%) in group 2 after switching to a pen device (P<.01, group 1 vs. group 2). Patient questionnaires after each phase of the trial revealed that patients found the pen device more convenient and were more likely to recommend this insulin delivery method to someone else.

Conclusion: Patients switching to a glargine pen device achieved lower HbA1c at the 6-month follow-up. Patients in both groups overwhelmingly preferred glargine pens over vials/syringes.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Blood Glucose / analysis*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / blood
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / drug therapy*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / blood
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / drug therapy*
  • Female
  • Glycated Hemoglobin A / analysis
  • Humans
  • Hypoglycemic Agents / administration & dosage*
  • Insulin Glargine / administration & dosage*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Preference*


  • Blood Glucose
  • Glycated Hemoglobin A
  • Hypoglycemic Agents
  • hemoglobin A1c protein, human
  • Insulin Glargine